PERFECT MUFFINS WITH SPINACH

I always liked muffins, I love their shape and  their simplicity. To prepare good muffins, you just need a muffin pan which will turn the simplest recipe into beauty. I have to mention that usually it's the same recipe for preparing simple sweet cake, or salty cake, or babka cake as for muffins, the only difference is the shape. Here I'll present you a simple, yet delicious recipe for salty muffins which always turn out great!
muffins


Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 200 ml yogurt
  • 180 ml cooking oil
  • 1 sachet of baking powder (10 g)
  • pinch of salt
  • 18 flat tbs flour
  • hard cheese or cottage cheese (as much as desired)
  • spinach or other greens (as much as desired)
Preparation:
  1. Beat eggs with a mixer and add a pinch of salt. Then, gradually add oil and yogurt and keep on mixing at low speed.
  2. Then add the flour, spoon by spoon and add the baking powder. Keep on mixing at low speed or use a wooden spoon.
  3. In the end, add crushed cheese and chopped spinach. Check if the mixture is salty enough.
  4. Pour mixture into muffin pan filling the holes by 2/3rds, don't fill them till top. Don't forget to previously coat the pan holes with oil or butter or to coat with baking paper. 
  5. Sprinkle sesame seeds or sunflower seeds on top.
  6. Bake at 200 C degrees for 30 minutes.
  7. Leave to cool, then remove from the pan.  
     

FAST PIE WITH SPINACH MADE OF PUFF PASTRY (FOR BEGINNERS)

Puff pastry is something I don't buy or use often and I have to say that I bought the first one only as an experiment and to prove myself that I can also prepare zelnik with ready dough in no time without kneading. It happened one afternoon on my way home from work, I was exhausted and I just remembered I had fresh spinach at home from our garden in Bukovo that I needed to use somehow and I have already promised my little girl the previous day that I'll knead a pie. I was in no condition to make mess in my kitchen and to knead on 40 C degrees outside, so I went to the market and bought 500 g of frozen puff pastry and 200 g of cottage cheese. Both costed about 2 dollars (that's here in Macedonia). 

So, I went home and while I was changing clothes and washing my hands, I left the pastry to unfreeze. I put it in a microwave which I rarely use to defrost faster. In a meantime, I chopped my spinach, I don't know how much I've put (put as much as you want), I added 2 eggs and the cottage cheese (add salt if needed).
Then, I sprinkled a little flour on my working table and put my puff pastry on. I cut it in 2 same sized pieces and set one piece a side. I stretched  the first part with a rolling pin to fit my baking pan. I didn't make it in perfect circled shape, I just stretched it to cover the pan. I put the ready layer in the baking pan, added the filling and repeated the same procedure with the other half of my puff pastry (don't forget to sprinkle flour again and sprinkle some more on the top of the pastry to avoid sticking to the rolling pin). I put the second part on top, made some wrinkles and put the baking pan in preheated oven to bake at 220 Celsius degrees. It was ready in 20-25 minutes. I didn't add any oil to the baking pan since the puff pastry contains several layers of butter. It was one of the best pies I've ever made and I didn't put much effort in it.

Ingredients:
  • 500 g frozen puff pastry
  • 200 g cottage cheese
  • spinach or other greens  
    Puff pastry

SPRITZER (ШПРИЦЕР)

Spritzer is a very popular alcohol beverage in Macedonia. Originally, spritzer (шприцер) is an alcoholic drink (cocktail) obtained exclusively with a mixture of white wine and sodium water from a "siphon" (a bottle filled with water under pressure with the addition of carbon dioxide).

Probably the name was derived from the German word for sprinkling (German spritzen). The spritzer originated in Germany at the beginning of the 19th century when the first soda water was made in the town of Seltzer. Sodium water is a pure water without minerals and salts with added carbon dioxide and it is the best for mixing with wine.

In Macedonia, it is assumed that spritzer was brought by rich merchants and it became an inevitable part of every celebration.

The essential difference between Macedonian spritzer and the original one is in the composition of mineral carbonated water that contains a lot of minerals and salts, which is said that significantly impairs the quality of the mixture.

Preparation:
Pour half a glass of white or rose wine and fill the other half with soda-water. Since soda water comes under a lot of pressure (sprinkles) it breaks down the wine and builds a solution of wine and soda water whose carbon oxides together with alcohol enhance the organoleptic experience.

Here in Macedonia we have also invented other 2 types of spritzer which we call "summer" and "winter" spritzer.
Summer spritzer is mostly prepared in summer as a lighter variation and it is consisted of 1/3rd if wine and 2/3rds soda water, while winter spritzer is mostly drank in winter and it is consisted of 2/3rds of wine and 1/3rd of soda water.


WATERMELON AND WHITE CHEESE - PERFECT SUMMER COMBINATION

One of the best foods in summer is the watermelon. Watermelon is the best way to refresh yourself during tropical heat. I always ate watermelon the way it was - just a watermelon. One day when I was a kid, I saw my grandmother eating a piece of watermelon combined with white cheese. "No way you're eating sweet and salty at the same time, gross" - I said. She laughed and tried to convince me that it tastes great, but I didn't believe her at the time. Sometimes she added a warm bread to the combination. I'll never forget the way she ate watermelon and cheese - with a great pleasure. 
Years after my grandma passed away, I sat one day to eat watermelon. I don't know how it came to me to take a piece of white cheese too. I've been skeptical that I'll like it, but I was very surprised to find out one of the best magical tastes happening in my mouth. I was thrilled. From that day on, I always combine watermelon with white cheese.
So, if you're being skeptical as I was, I advice you to not hesitate and try this perfect summer combination. You'll thank me later :)

There's no recipe for this combination, just slice your watermelon and combine it with white cheese (I believe it's called feta outside Macedonia).
Enjoy!